Shhhhhh….I’m a SECRET!!!

My nephew and I have enjoyed continued communication via email over the past few weeks. It has been really wonderful. He mentioned that he was going to be in our neck of the woods (fairly close anyway) over the summer and I offered to bring the kids and meet him for lunch. I told him if he was too busy I would understand though, that this was his trip and he should do only what he wanted to. He replied that he would LOVE to meet and even if he were too busy he would make the time!!!!!! SUCH a sweet kid.

Then came the bombshell…..his Mom, my sister IM’d me and basically said she didn’t think it was a good idea. She said that this is supposed to be a fun trip for him and that she doesn’t think he should have to explain who I am to the people he is staying with. I just sort of sat there staring at my computer screen, tears streaming down my face.

After regaining some composure I told her the fact that I am still a secret after all these years makes me feel like I am some sort of disease that must be kept a dirty secret at all costs. She became off the charts angry and said she wasn’t going to let me talk about HER FAMILY like that and disconnected.

Again I just sort of sat there rather stunned. She did log back on and we continued our brief interaction but after that it was cold and uncomfortable. I begged, said please a lot, asked her to try and understand but to no avail. She said I don’t get how difficult this has all been on them. My begging is the only thing I regret. I still find it challenging to be true to myself without guilt or fear getting in the way.

I really feel that I have gone out of my way to understand and to stick with this in spite of the fact that after five years of “reunion” I am still in the closet. Maybe I’m not being fair. Maybe I am not truly understanding their position but I don’t believe that is the case. The truth of the matter is that after all these years I am still kept at arms length covered in a shroud of secrecy and shame. Shame. Imagine how that makes me feel. I know it’s not all about me. If I didn’t understand that I would have been shouting my identity from the rooftops long ago considering I know where ALL of my birth mother’s relatives are and how to reach them. I know about my Uncles and my Aunts, my Cousins and my Nieces and Nephews but other than one aunt (who already knew about me) I have not made contact with any of them.

I’m not obsesssing over this which means I AM making huge strides but it has caused me a fair amount of sadness. It’s just not overtaking every aspect of my day so I know I’m getting better at this. However I do feel it deserves some attention. I think what little there is of our virtually non-existant relationship is crumbling from the weight of their secrecy and lies. Not one of them (my nephew excluded) is willing to give ME a chance. So I thought I might write about it here, just get it out in the “open” in a non-threatening way. Maybe it will help me put it in perspective because I think it’s time I prepare myself for the possibility that this “reunion” may be over. I think I have come to the point where I am no longer willing to comprimise my integrity and my self-worth. I really thought that after time my sister would realize that keeping me a secret and lying about my identity was affecting HER integrity but no such luck.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Shhhhhh….I’m a SECRET!!!

  1. This sounds like someone who is full of fear and anger and it may not really be at you. If your mom never told her she may be angry about it now that she knows, but she can’t direct taht anger toward her mom so instead she goes after you.
    The comment she made about what it is doing to “her” family is telling. She is thinking all about her and since her son doesn’t seem to have an issue, it’s not “her family” that is the issue.

  2. I am so sorry. That is very hurtful. They are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to know you. What are you going to do?

  3. Mia

    I’m sure you’re right Wraith. I think that deep down inside my sister knows how messed up this is and since she can’t place the blame on how her mother has handled things without huge amounts of guilt I am the logical recipient of her anger.

    DO2 I’m not sure there is anything I CAN do to be honest. If my nephew writes to me I will continue to keep in contact with him but because he is still a teen I feel I must respect her wishes where her son is concerned and not meet while he is here. It sucks all the way around because I don’t want him to think I am blowing him off because he really wants to meet. What else can I do though?

  4. suz

    oh, mia, i am so sorry. this makes me so sad. it is so very wrong.

    however, oddly, and i dont mean to invalidate your pain, rather i want to thank you for sharing it. it actually made me feel good about myself and my forever decision to be open about my daughter. no secrets here. she is welcome any time.

    big hugs.

  5. Oh argh how stupid and ridiculous. What’s the big deal? What’s there to explain?
    Stupid woman. your cousin WANTS to see you, that’s what matters.

  6. Mia, I’m so sorry.
    I think Wraiths is probably right that your sister is angry because she feels trapped herself (of course she isn’t, or at least she needn’t be, if only she’d have the guts to break out of her own mental prison, but . . . )
    I’m sorry for your nephew too. He obviously wants very much to meet with you and the kids, and I’m sure he will have his own feelings about not being able to do so (unlikely to be positive ones, IMO). I hate how these things just continue get passed on to people with whom they have basically nothing to do.
    You’re right. All you can do is keep in touch with your nephew until he’s old enough to be free to meet you on his own terms.
    I don’t think it would be out of line for you to ask your sister to explain to him herself why she feels he shouldn’t meet with you. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see that as your job.

  7. Blah, dear. If you were part of my family, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops.

  8. oh mia,
    that totally sucks.

  9. Joy

    Mia
    as
    Jenna said…
    Blah, dear. If you were part of my family, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops.

    I am telling you something weird is going on there.
    I can’t believe she is a painter, although I find it easy to believe you are.

    Are you the first born?

    I have read your blog, I believe pretty thoroughly, and I don’t know where you fit in.
    Were you the child of an affair?

  10. I told her the fact that I am still a secret after all these years makes me feel like I am some sort of disease that must be kept a dirty secret at all costs.

    I think I have come to the point where I am no longer willing to comprimise my integrity and my self-worth

    I really relate to these two comments, even though I understand my sons reluctance to tell his adopter of me, its still hard, it makes me feel as though he is ashamed of me.
    I sometimes find myself wondering when is it hanging in there and when is it damaging to my own self worth. Its such a hard call.

    I just want you to know I am on the other side of things but I still can relate to you.
    MSP

  11. How old is your nephew? You said he is a teen? Is he over 18? I am wondering if there’s a reason to cancel your meeting with him or not? Please do not let him think that you are blowing him off – tell him the truth – nicely – but still.

    Does it really matter what she thinks? What else can you do? Can you just ignore her and meet with your nephew anyway? She can forbid him to meet you if he’s underage, but, don’t let her control you. She has no right to do that.

    Respect her wishes? Why? Does she deserve that? Grrrr!!!!I’m sorry Mia, I hate that you’re getting the response you are – from your aunt and birth mom both!

    Sorry Kippa, not sure I would trust her aunt to explain things to her son truthfully. I think Mia should. If he doesn’t already know the truth about him mom – maybe it is time. Not saying to start a war, but, I don’t think she deserves to be protected either.

    Dang, I am a fiery one, eh?

    I’m so sorry Mia.

  12. Oops, sorry – I read that he is 15. I still stand by that she can control what he does – not you. If she wants to forbid him to see you – that’s her right, unfortunately. It stinks though.

  13. Mia

    Suz you SHOULD feel good about how you have handled things with your daughter. No worries there.

    Thanks everyone for your input. I appreciate it. I guess I have no choice but to leave it up to her to tell him. She mentioned that she is having to deal with “Mom issues” now. I suspect this is my nephew wanting to know what the big deal is and her answering along the lines of “it’s complicated” and “we have to let your grandmother decide” blah blah blah…

    He’s a smart kid and my hope is that he will just continue to see things clearly until such a time that he is able to make his own decisions where I am concerned.

  14. I think you’re right, Mia. Though I wishyou didn’t have to be (and honestly, I think your sister’s being a complete wimpy asshat who is 100% wrong).
    As far as your nephew’s is concerned I think it would be unfair to put him in a position where he is going to feel torn, especially when in a few years he’ll be a free agent. Personally I totally fail to see why he shouldn’t be allowed to meet with you now (and I can’t imagine he does either)

    But I’m sure he’ll continue to cut through the
    family crap, and that you will make that connection in a few years.

  15. I agree with cookie. You should tell him it wasn’t your choice to cancel the meeting. Since he is a minor, you do need to honor his mother’s wishes. But since you have email contact, you don’t need to let him think you bailed on him. You can simply tell him that you are not going to meet him because his mother asked you not to. You think it sucks, but she is his mom. In the long run, he will understand. And she (your sis/his mom) should have to deal with the consequences of her choices, not just the choices of her mother.

  16. Mia

    Marlene I don’t know if I would say that to my nephew but I tell you what I think what you wrote here:

    she (your sis/his mom) should have to deal with the consequences of her choices, not just the choices of her mother.

    ….is brilliant and I think if the occasion arises I will definately say this to my sister!!! I think she is fully convinced she is going through this “turmoil” because of the choices our mother has made and that’s just not the case completely. At some point I hope she takes personal responsibilty for her part in all of this. After all SHE is an adult!
    Thanks!

  17. Again, Mia, another parallel in our reunion experience.

    In my case, my maternal family insisted I be kept a secret from my paternal family (with the exception of my birthfather’s son who was complicit in keeping the secret when visiting “our” family.)

    I “understood.” For years. And, when it came right down to it, I asked myself how much reuniting with my father’s family mattered to me. The answer was, not a huge amount. I’d learned in my reunion with my mother’s family that developing a satisfying reunion relationship was not entirely likely. So, I could “live with” missing a relationship with my birthfather’s side of the family (bdad is deceased).

    What I couldn’t “live with” and could barely even fathom was the entire family having no consideration that keeping my a secret was of absolutely no consequence to me at all; that it didn’t hurt terribly or interfere with my relationships with those I’d reunited with. Their wishes, however ill conceived, I could follow. Their denial of my feelings about it, and their expectation I should be grateful for whatever scraps thrown my way, was what I couldn’t handle.

    And so, I sympathize with what you are going through with your nephew. I feel it. And, I am so sorry.

  18. The dynamics of the secrecy of adoption can make life a living hell.

    So sorry you are experiencing this.

  19. I know about my Uncles and my Aunts, my Cousins and my Nieces and Nephews but other than one aunt (who already knew about me) I have not made contact with any of them…Not one of them (my nephew excluded) is willing to give ME a chance…I think it’s time I prepare myself for the possibility that this “reunion” may be over.

    Wow. Absolutely parallels my own experience. It’s such a hollow, lonely feeling to be rejected yet again. My brother’s son, my nephew and I were in contact briefly after the “reunion,” but all contact has fallen by the wayside now, nearly two years later. I thought we hit it off fabulously. The problem is, my late aunt conveniently “forgot” where my n-mom was buried (they didn’t get along, and the shame and secrecy of it all kept her from telling me things I would have given anything to know). My relatives know I exist, but we have no history, and that combined with denial and shame and secrecy just clinch it.

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